Paying by Gender

“Men tend to star in big-budget movies that earn at the box office. Women can’t compete at the same level because they aren’t given the same roles. They’re not the stars of a PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN or INCEPTION, they’re the window dressing: girlfriends and sidekicks….

“In Hollywood, women earn less as they age. Harrison Ford still bags $20m for action roles. If COWBOYS & ALIENS performs anything like his previous films, we’ll see him back on the Forbes list next year. But… there are no 69-year-old women earning $20m per film. Sigourney Weaver (63) would probably love to have another crack at an ALIEN film but, as she said recently, that’s not likely to happen: “Just because of the way the industry is.” Female actors are therefore under a greater imperative to build their brands beyond the screen, because that’s where their future earning potential lies (emphasis added). (Sarah Jessica) Parker still makes money as a producer of SEX AND THE CITY. She’s also branched out into fashion and perfume. Jennifer Aniston is a huge brand outside of her film work.

“(Angelina) Jolie is the one woman bucking the trend. She appears in action movies, so gets paid like the guys. They might have switched the gender of Jolie’s Salt, but the wage stayed male (emphasis added). And that should give hope to the stars of the new female-friendly franchises that are following her. Kristen Stewart (the TWILIGHT series), Rooney Mara (GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO) and Jennifer Lawrence (THE HUNGER GAMES) are all tied to action franchises that should make big bucks at the box office and will hopefully push their wages up. It’s doubtful they’ll ever earn Leo’s money, but it may at least squeeze the gap.”

Melissa Silverstein on Hollywood’s gender wage gap in THE GUARDIAN


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